The Suit on the Big Screen
Recently, there has been a move towards taking back the suit on the big screen. 2015 has been its year, proving that James Bond’s is not the only devilishly handsome man taking on bad guys with poise and skill. Guy Ritchie, whose films generally feature bumbling thieves set amongst London’s dirty underworld, has taken on ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E’ a reboot of the sixties series by the same name. The original series, which lasted four years, featured the dynamic duo of (American) Napoleon Solo and (Soviet) Illya Kuryakin. A popular series while it lasted, the importance of attire for the two leading men is as significant now than it ever has been. In the series, Solo and Kuryakin are gun-toting, bold-tie wearing agents, who seemingly embrace the philosophy of ‘the bigger the pocket square the better’. With the latest film reboot; the timeframe is the same as the series. The bold style of the two leading men is relevant to the sixties, without the limitations of being created then. Trilby hats and trench coats get their moment to shine, amongst espionage, bombs and fast cars. Double-breasted suits, waist coats and ties are Solo’s uniform of choice, whereas Kuryakin- influenced by his Russian roots- tends to prefer jackets, hats and a less formal look. With ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’, the dapper Colin Firth teaches his protégé (and the audience who need a reminder) the importance of wearing a suit. His teachings revolve around the art of behaving like a gentleman and the importance of manners. In his perfectly tailored suit, Firth tries to literally save the world, while battling Samuel L. Jackson’s character, the laidback, violence-hating villain. Firth’s charisma and confidence derives from his suit- which he complements with accessories like a watch and umbrella. While his accessories might be powerful weapons that can block bullets, your accessories can look just as good if paired with a fitted suit. The roles of protagonist verses antagonist are further juxtaposed by Jackson’s outfits throughout the film- he wears snapback New York Yankee caps, sneakers and chains- embracing a youthful (if slightly outdated) approach to dressing. His style represents the less refined man, he who seeks fashion inspiration from the likes of Eminem. In the film, Firth’s protégé takes down Jackson’s character, after embracing a more refined (and expensive) look with the help of a tailor. He moves away from his previous way of dressing, a style that echoed that of Jackson’s character, in order to fight evil with style. The notable move towards class and style is instilled through the message of the film: ‘manners maketh man’. The lesson behind it all? By embracing the suit, you might just save the world. If you don't, at least you'll look like you tried to do it in style.